Archive for Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dorathy summarizes 2009-2010 budget cuts

May 28, 2009

Amidst speculation of what might be on the chopping block, Supt. Paul Dorathy outlined cuts on the 2009-2010 Baldwin School District budget last week.

Cuts to the school district’s budget are estimated at $741,000 from where it started this year until the 2009-2010 school year. While those numbers won’t be official until August, Dorathy summarized some of the larger reductions.

“In the end, we were able to maintain some teaching positions that we weren’t sure about,” Dorathy said. “There were positions that had to be reduced or cut.”

Most of the larger cuts regard personnel in the district. The majority of those don’t eliminate positions, but there was one at Baldwin High School and Baldwin Junior High School.

“We will not have the school resource officer for next year,” Dorathy said. “This is the first time this has been announced. We talked to the city about that.”

The district will be saving around $200,000 from retirements. Dorathy said there were several employees retiring and those positions won’t be filled next year.

“Those are cuts for some positions, but those retirements are making it so we don’t necessarily have to cut a person,” Dorathy said.

One position that was filled was the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center principal. Tom Mundinger is retiring and Dan Wallsmith, Marion Springs Elementary School teacher, was hired as his replacement on May 18.

The school board delayed hiring a new BESIC principal, but ultimately decided on Wallsmith.

“Once we got the final numbers from Topeka, the board felt comfortable with the number that we had,” Dorathy said. “They really wanted to replace that position and felt it was important for that building to have its own principal.

“We are still looking at about a $100,000 savings in administrative costs in the district,” he said. “We’ve had an administrator retire and we removed the administrator mileage stipend.”

Another big chunk of cuts will be coming from the food service budget next year. Dorathy said the district might be slashing food service $70,000, but that total encompasses several cuts.

“We are looking at several items within food service,” Dorathy said. “We are cutting back on some positions. We are changing some choices and cutting out some of the more expensive entrées. We will still provide hot meals and food next year, but we were able to reduce some things that took a pretty significant cut.”

Building supply budgets might be cut as much as 50 percent, which could save $50,000. Activity budgets might also be cut in half and that would save up to $29,000.

Other large cuts include no purchases for the online virtual prescriptive learning ($24,000), increasing user fees $10 ($11,400) and reducing summer maintenance new hires ($13,000). The user fee increase hasn’t been approved, but that decision will be made at the July 13 school board meeting.

Dorathy said those aren’t the only cuts that will be made, but those are the largest on the list. He also said no activities at BHS or BJHS will be cut, despite being on the list for possible cuts.

“They considered those, but we visited with staff about ways that we could make those programs more efficient,” Dorathy said. “So we’re going to try and do those things and see if we can maintain those for at least another year.

“The other thing is we are going to increase the user fees, so there will be more cost for people to maintain those programs,” he said. “Our feeling was if we raise the user fees, we wouldn’t have to cut the programs. The people will just have to pay more to keep those programs going.”

Comments

NanCrisp 5 years, 5 months ago

This is very impressive indeed! Kudos to our new superintendent for helping steer the district toward the cuts that make the most sense. The $10 user fee increase is very modest and everyone who is "for the kids" should absorb that with goodwill toward knowing the activities and programs and teachers may still be in place if everyone just contributes that extra $10. Hopefully, our governor and State legislature have given us a true picture of what can be reasonably expected in revenues going forward. That will be the key to whether or not schools, courts, and public services can feel confident that their budgets will stand. Our previous governor tended to wildly overestimate the revenue sources and that led to a lot of unnecessary scrambling this past year. A more realistic projection going in would have helped us all to plan accordingly. Whether we want to hear bad news or not, bad news comes. And we fare much better when we are able to plan conservatively rather than overextending ourselves due to an excess of pie-in-the-sky optimism (the kind of optimism that has about a 5% chance of becoming reality).

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